Explore Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Earlier this week, I wrote about the Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur and cited some of the things you can do there. As part of the continuing series, I'll take you to another part of the city. It wasn't really in my itinerary but since I had a few hours left to spare before my flight back to the Philippines, I went out of the hotel early in the morning and wandered off to Merdeka Square all by myself.

Merdeka Square, or Independece Square, is one — if not the most — prominent historical spots of Malaysia. It is where Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Malaysia's first prime minister, declared independence from British colonial rule on August 31, 1957.

Surrounding the square are historical sites that date back from the early 1890s. Here are some of the sites that I was able to visit during my brief stroll in Merdaka Square.

Victorian Fountain
Standing proudly at the corner of Jalan Raja and Lebuh Pasar streets is the old Victorian Fountain. Built in 1904, the Queen Victoria Fountain (its old name) was brought in from England and assembled in Kuala Lumpur. Apparently, it has a sister fountain (also having the same name), which is located in Malacca.

A closer look at the art nouveau tile work reveals 8 winged lions sprinkling water at their mouths...and, yes, it is still functioning after more than a hundred years.

Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
Constructed in 1898 to meet the printing needs of the then British Malaya Administration, this magnificent Moghul-India inspired building — now turned to a City Gallery — is a stone's throw away from Restoran Warisan.

Not only this serves as the city's gallery, this building is also the Tourist Information Center and houses the largest masterpeice of the Kuala Lumpur City Model, measuring a mega 40ft x 50ft, showcasing the past, present and future developments of Kuala Lumpur.

National Textile Museum
Across the Restoran Warisan building (left side) is Kuala Lumpur's National Textile Museum. This building was built in 1905 and housed the Federated Malay States Railway Station and in 1917, it was handed over to the Selangor Public Works Department.

Distinguishable by its alternating red bricks and white plaster bands facade with onion-shaped domes, this Moorish-inspired structure now showcases the origins, development and techniques and local textiles and the role it has in the rich and diverse heritage of Malaysia.

I wasn't able to go inside despite the free entrance but this is a great place for needlework and fabric enthusiasts who yearn for that distinct Malaysian touch and finesse.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Perhaps the grandest of all the architectural wonders in Merdeka Square is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. With its towering 41-meter high clock tower, arched colonnades and copper domes, this building used to house the Federal Malay States administration back in 1897 and then the High Court and Kuala Lumpur's Supreme Court in 1972.

Today, it is now home to the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture.

Restoran Wartisan
Built in 1919, this building was the former Chartered Bank and then the National History Museum. When its collections were moved to the National Museum in 2007, this heritage site was leased and oddly turned into a restaurant that serves Malaysian cuisine to locals and foreigners alike.

Source: Kuala Lumpur Merdeka Square Guide. Historical Sites at Merdeka Square (Dataran Merdeka) [Brochure]. Kuala Lumpur City Hall and Vist KL.

How to Get to Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur
The best way to reach Merdeka Square is by train. If you're coming from KL Sentral stration, take the Kelana Jaya line (green line) going to the Masjid Jamek LRT station. After getting off Masjid Jamek, walk towards Jalan Raja until you the V-shaped road.

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In this series, I showcase all the good things in Malaysia and provide you with tips that you can use for your next travel to this country. Watch out for more posts in the coming weeks and feel free to drop some comments below. 


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Johor Transport said...

Those pictures are stunning. You might want to take a shot of other places in Malaysia too such as Johor Bahru. If you're coming from Singapore, there are transport to Johor Bahru services you can try like JohorTransport.com.

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